The Evolution of Dogs

This came up in my Facebook Memories today.  It was posted by my daughter Kalissa.

“If heaven works like it should, I hope Ruby found Dad 💔💔

2019 was a tough year for me.  I lost my husband in June from lung cancer.  I lost my niece Jody who was more like a sister to breast cancer in September and I lost my seven-year-old beagle Ruby just a few days before Christmas.

I have to laugh when I see this picture as my husband was not originally on board to have a dog in the house.  He, in fact, was very against it.

I had grown up with pets in the house.  My parents always had a small house dog so I didn’t have a lot of the apprehension he did.  He didn’t grow up a house dog.

When our kids were little we didn’t have a house dog…we did have a cat though.  I’m not a cat lover…that was all for the kids.

When our youngest, Kalissa was about …13 or 14, I got the want to get a house dog.  After raising five kids the house was starting to empty out and I didn’t like it.  I love a busy house.  He wasn’t on board.

I had gone so far as to figure out that I thought I wanted a beagle.  They weren’t small yippy dogs that my husband didn’t like and they weren’t big dogs.  It didn’t matter.  He wasn’t on board.

At the time, Kramer and I had talked about possibly being foster parents for kids.  He wasn’t all the way on board with that either.  He was afraid we didn’t have time to “do it right”.  We had kids right away after getting married and he was looking forward to some time to ourselves without kids.  He wasn’t a hard no so I was hopeful over a bit of time he might agree.

Kramer had this “hard no” thing and a quiet “not his preference” mode.  The “not his preference” I could often soften and talk him into.

Me…I wanted something to mother as the kids were leaving home.  I’m a mothering sort.  I’m sure you all have caught onto that if you’re a blog reader.  Mothering is my thing.

At the time I was doing childcare in our home.  One of my childcare moms was on her lunch break.  She saw a lady walking about six dogs.  She stopped and talked to her.  It turns out she took on dogs, rehabilitated them, and then adopted them out.  In the mix of dogs, she had a small black 9-month-old pup and she had a beagle.  The childcare mom was so excited and offered to adopt the 9-month-old pup.  I was excited about the beagle.  They ended up getting the pup and still have him last I knew.

I talked to Kramer about the beagle and he outright said, “NO!”.  Oh.  I was so frustrated.  We weren’t that kind of couple.  We talked and people gave reasons for our opinions.  We didn’t just cut each other’s wants right off.  But, that’s exactly what he did.  It was a NO! …I was peeved and later told him I was and why.  We talked about it and smoothed things over.  I left the dog topic alone.

About five weeks later the childcare mom came and said she saw the lady walking the dogs again.  She told me that the lady said she was giving the dog to the Humane Society if she didn’t find a home soon.  She asked the mom to talk to me and see if was interested.

DARN.  I didn’t want the dog to go to the Humane Society.  I finished doing childcare.  I went and found Kramer out in the field driving tractor.  I jumped in and told him the beagle was going to the Humane Society.  Then I said, “We either need to get a dog or we need to do foster care for kids.”

Just like that Kramer said, “Let’s get a dog”…and that’s how I convinced him to get a house dog.

We got Gracie…she was my first beagle.


She was five when we got her.  She was a great dog.  She had some separation anxiety and would be crazy when we got home.  Other than that, she did a great job warming Kramer up to thinking a house dog wasn’t the worst thing.

She died three years later.  She had a mass on her kidney that turned out to be cancer.

Gracie was a master at posing on quilts.  She’d do anything for a treat.  She and I walked miles and miles and miles together.  She loved going on walks.

She died in 2012.

Then we got a puppy.  Kelli had friends who had a dog that had pups.  We ended up getting Ruby.  Gracie had warmed Kramer up to house dogs that he was okay with them.  Ruby put him over the edge that he loved having a house dog.  He would play with her when he came in from farming.  She did a great job to help him wind down after work and he loved her.

Kramer used to lay on the floor every day at lunchtime and take a power nap…about a 20-minute nap.  Ruby was always there cuddled up next to him.  At the 20-minute mark, she would nudge him and wake him up.  They’d play a couple of minutes and then Kramer would be off to work.

When Kramer got sick with cancer and was spending the days in his recliner.  It was Ruby who was his constant.  She was a bigger beagle so wasn’t the best lap dog…but that’s where she wanted to be.  Often she’d be either on the footrest or by his side.

I’m so glad he warmed up to house dogs.  I’m so thankful that Gracie led the way for Ruby.

Sadly Ruby was only 7 when she passed away.  As of today, it’s been three years without her.

Now I have Rosie.  She was a terrible puppy.  Time and time again I wondered why I got her.  She wouldn’t house train at all…and I’m diligent about that!!  I was regularly frustrated with her.

She turned two and finally got better…then turned three and she’s wonderful.    Between getting in-ground fencing and getting my new dog Izzy, she’s mellowed into a great companion.

I had tried to get a second house dog when Kramer was living.  He always said one was enough.  I was okay with that….then when he passed away, I decided that being he wasn’t here, I could do what I wanted….and that’s how Izzy ended up here.

I never in a million years ever thought I’d have a dog that wasn’t a beagle.  She just weaved her way in.  She is going really well.  She’s smart and easy to train.  She did have an accident in the house today.  I think the terrible weather we are having was partially to blame.  It’s like -30 below wind chill.

So…that’s how it got to be that I ended up being a dog owner…or rather the evolution of dogs at our house.  I can’t imagine my life without a dog.

Someone said to me the other day that their dog was getting older and they thought that their current dog was probably going to be their last dog.  Oh my.  I hope I never get to that point.  I really always want to have a dog.

8 thoughts on “The Evolution of Dogs”

  1. Dogs, hmm, what can I say? We had two dogs die in a year and I said I’ll rescue an older dog. Well, I rescued a young dog because her picture looked terrible and no one was interested in her. I’m 77 with a 1 year old dog. I should not have rescued her but she adores us and we love her. We put up a gate by our bedroom and she sleeps on a huge comforter. Before that she slept on our bed and we never got a good nights sleep. Dogs, hmmm.

  2. Judith Fairchild

    Loved your dog tales. It takes a strong mothering instinct to raise your own and other people’s children with love and care. We’ll done with kids and dogs

  3. I’m a cat person as they’re so much easier. I’ve had 2 Westies and loved them but the in/out all the time..ugh. I had a cat that lived 17 1/2 yrs. I had to have him put to sleep 2 days before Christmas 2019 & that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done with a pet. Swore I’d NEVER have another cat and that lasted til earlier this year when I stopped by the animal shelter and found my little girl. She may outlive me since I’ll be 69 in a few more days….

  4. Susan the Farm Quilter

    The times without dogs in my life are few and far between. I’ve have a beagle, Labradors, golden retriever, German Shepherd and now a Chihuahua. I prefer larger dogs, but my Chihuahua has been my constant companion for the last 12 years. I do quite a bit of traveling to see my kids and she loves to be in her crate in the back seat, only coming out when she needs to let me know it’s time for her to potty. My house would be so empty without her. They do bring unconditional love into our lives.

  5. I’d never be without a dog/dogs. At the moment we have two, but for a while we had 5! We’ve often said we couldn’t just have the one dog now. They are such good companions.
    Thanks Jo, for sharing your dogs with us.

  6. We’ve had many pets – while the kids were at home and after. We got them as “hand me downs” – rarely ones we picked ourselves. But they all filled our hearts and homes with cuddles and love. Last year, our dog Athena passed away and we were heart broken for many reasons. She was the perfect dog. I wanted a new dog but Mike said no, he wasn’t ready for one. Then this year, we adopted a dog from the humane shelter where my grand kids work. Poor Dash has had his share of problems and still does but we love him and he has squirmed his way into our hearts.
    I’m with you – I never want to be without a pet!
    Love and prayers

  7. Once I met my husband, we were always dog people and big ones! Shepherd mix, Great Pyrenees, German shepherds. By th time we had to put the last one to sleep I told him we needed to get a smaller dog, especially because he was sick and I might by taking care of it. We found a rescue, she was just under 40 lbs. She was a great dog. Then after about 5 years, he convinced me to get another. It was terrible, they didn’t get along, we tried everything and finally they learned to tolerate each other and gradually became friends. Then my husband passed away and the dogs regressed, it was so hard for me but they were great companions. A few years later and then the female got cancer, I had to put her to sleep. I still miss her but I’ve stuck with one dog and he’s very much a part of my life. We RV together in the winter and take tons of walks together. If he passes I will still get another dog, although it will probably by older. They each have had their own personality and have become my family, especially with being a widow.

  8. My husband and I feel the same way about (hopefully) always being able to live with a dog. They are such good company, they keep us active, and like you say, they offer nurturing opportunities and companionship. Since we were married in 1968, we have always had a dog, even sneaking one into graduate student married housing 50 years ago! Though we are now in our 70s, and had a four-year-old Labrador Retriever, my husband and I got a Vizsla puppy last November. They get along great and our grandchildren adore them, too. With this new puppy, I am doing agility workshops, which has opened up a whole new world. I have three women friends who used to tell me they didn’t ever plan to get another dog, but when they became widows, divorced, or empty nesters, changed their minds. All got smaller dogs that travel with them everywhere. It’s wonderful to see how much having a living creature around enhanced their lives.

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